As I sit here waiting for the Texas High School Project (THSP) School Leadership Institute to begin I am saddened to realize that I am limited to my laptop being an expensive word processor. For you young folk, a word processor would eelectronikly take what you typed...typed? Well, that term comes from the times we used type writers to…what’s a type writer? Oh heck, let me just continue with my post…
So, I have no wifi here in the main ballroom. There IS wifi for the presenters I’ve been told. So, is this a problem with bandwidth? Or, is this a problem with revenue. You see the hotel has a package they sell for this conference and, I’m betting dollars to donuts, one tier allowed for wifi access to some people and another (more expensive) tier allowed for all attendees to have access.
What really got me was that I was working on my laptop (online) just a few minutes before. I was only about 100 feet from the entrance to the ballroom. But, as soon as I walked in I no longer could see the wifi I had been using. What was funny was that I asked the front desk if I could get access to the hotel wifi even though I hadn’t checked into my room yet and they quickly told me the password (cowboys – “we are in Dallas,” my hostess stated).
So, they weren’t afraid to give guests free access. But, when I crossed that invisible line of demarcation separating the Conference Center from the hotel, I wasn’t good enough to have access. Something tells me that bandwidth is NOT the culprit. It all comes down to revenue. Let’s see how much money they would be losing if they had kept me happy and allowed me access.
[We fast forward a little over 24 hours....]
Last night I tried to finish this but I couldn't upload the text to the blog. Without internet access I had written what you read above in Office and I saved it in multiple formats but no luck. Oh, I was online and I was accessing everything I wanted but I could not get this stinking thing to save in Blogger. So, I gave up and went up to my room only to find that I couldn't access the wifi in my room. What really made me furious was I had access in my room but decided to work down at the bar area just an hour or so before. Crazy!
And so this morning I tried to access in my room and had no luck. I went down to the front desk and, as expected I was told to contact the service provider. They did remove the wifi fee from my tab though. Oh, yeah, didn't mention that little tidbit. While in the bar area wifi was free but in my room I had to pay. That is wrong on so many levels. Then I headed to my first session (having left my word processor in my room) and the presenter was disappointed that more people didn't have their laptops with them. When I mentioned that there wasn't access in the rooms she stated that "there is in this room." Maddening!
Now I could go into all of the craziness trying to get access this evening in the dining room (10 feet from the bar) but I won't bore you. Suffice it to say I am now on and I am going to, hopefully, finish this post and publish it before the wifi gods start messing with me again.
So let's get back to my question at the top: should wifi be expected when you are attending a conference in a hotel/conference center? Some of us still don't have smart phones and many of us do not have a 3G or 4G connection to our laptops. So, some of us would like to be able to access the internet during conferences. For example when I learned the great stuff about the new procedures for standardized testing yesterday, it would have been nice to pop up a quick tweet with a link to the resource mentioned. It would also have been nice to go to each of the resources and book mark them for later perusal. I could go on and on about why I should be able to access the internet.
But should I expect to gain access to wifi? Yes, in 2011 I should be able to access wifi in a conference center. I can access wifi in McDonalds in the middle of nowhere. I can access wifi in restaurants and coffee shops all over the country in the middle of nowhere. So, in Richardson Texas (just outside of Dallas) I should expect to be able to get access and the bandwidth I get should be strong.